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THE ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE OF ART.
Flattering this, and from the Herodotus of the place too ! All
these imputations, however, can hardly be true ; for even the
proprietor's kiss of the stone itself, like the "Wonderful Lamp
in the hands of the old magician in "Aladdin," did not confer
happiness, inasmuch as the castle and all its contents had not
very long ago to be sold by public competition — a profanation
bemoaned in an appropriate strain by Prout in an inimitable
parody on Moore's " Eveleen's Bower," beginning —
• " Oh ! the muse shed a tear,
"When the cruel auctioneer
"With a hammer in his hand to sweet Blarney came !"
In 1821, Sir Walter Scott, with his son-in-law, Lockhart,
Miss Edgeworth, and other celebrities, paid the homage of
their worship to the load-stone, much to the chagrin of the
citizens, who were^ eager that the Wizard should in preference
inspect their noble harbour and the lions of " the spreading
Lee, that, like an island fair, encloseth Cork with his divided <
flood, " as is said in the " Faerie Queene ;" or, as a more
modern bard describes it : —
" As crystal its waters are pure,
Each morning they blush like a bride ;
And when evening comes gray and demure,
With the softness of silver they glide.
" Of salmon and gray speckled trout
It holds such a plentiful store,
That thousands are forced to leap out,
By the multitude jostled on shore."
Surprisingly enough, however, Lockhart confounded this
famous Spenserian stream with the Shannon ! — a blunder
which forms the text of one of those most instructive " Essays
of an Octogenarian," by the erudite and amiable " J. R." of
a thousand periodicals — James Roche, formerly a banker, and
lately a retired citizen of Cork, which justly and affectionately
regarded him as one of the most worthy of her many honoured
sons, and now sorrows for his death, since April in the
Renvyle Castle, in the county of Tipperary, — a remark-
able ruin overlooking the sea — has a fame of another kind,
however. Here again history and romance, with their thousand
recollections, spring up 1 5 people the locale with the phantoms
of the past, as if specially to heighten, as it were, the
present charms of that singularly lovely landscape, by re-
miniscences of the turbulent and bloody deeds of which it
was the site, and which are here recalled by the presence
of Renvyle Castle —
" Beneath whose battlements, within whose walls,
Power dwelt amid her passions : — in proud state
Each feudal chief upheld these armed halls,
Doing his evil will, nor less elate
Than mightier heroes of a longer date : "
a kind of recollection, however, much more suitable for anti-
quarians and bookworms, than for quiet Irish tourists in the
middle of the nineteenth century.
XAVIER DE MAISTRE.
One January evening, 1794, in a pretty apartment of the Rue
de Po, at Turin, there met a party of eight young gentlemen to
smoke, and drink, and talk as pleasantly as might be. They
were soldiers. Some of them, though still young, had seen
much service, and could discourse on marches and counter-
marches, and all the manoeuvres of war, as well as the best.
But something very different from martial glory brought them
together that night ; they had come to hear and to criticise a
new composition by a young aspirant for fame — no other than
the now justly- celebrated Xavier de Maistre.
Personally, Xavier deMjaistre was unknown to most of
them. They had heard of him as a young soldier of promis-
ing ability, fond of adventure, and bent on improvement ; they
had heard that he had made a balloon ascent, and with a
provincial Mongolfier had taken a journey into the air.
Recently he had made another journey, not so startling, nor
so perilous, but one which promised to make him far better
known than the first, namely, " A Journey Round my Room."
He had written a book — this was the title — and by request the
manuscript was to be read that night. Already the critics felt
prepossessed in his favour. He was the brother of Joseph de
Maistre, senator of Savoy, whose " Eloge de Victor Amedee"
had gained him great popularity.
The Count d'Ailly, a brave but impetuous man, had been
selected reader ; and having chatted for some time on indif-
ferent topics, he received the paper, unrolled it, glanced down
the page with the eye of a connoisseur, and began.
Everybody knows the plan and subject of "A Journey
Round my Room," that small chef-d'oeuvre which has found
no rival for sixty years. It is a series of impressions and
philosophical reflections upon the body and the mind, the self
and the other self the soul and the beast. It was written
during captivity, when the author's only companions were a
valet and a dog. What bright touches of humour there are
scattered throughout the work ; how carefully he tells us that
his room is in the forty-fifth degree of latitude; how he
abjures those people who are so much masters of their move-
ments and ideas as to say, " To-day I will make three visits,
write four letters, and finish the work I have begun ;" with
what quaintness he depicts every part of his little domicile,
the dog, and the valet Joanetti ; how his reflections seem to
leap up unbidden at the commonest incident — and how deep,
and truthful, and clear they are ; and how, all through, his
double nature seems to haunt him — his body, the beast, of the
•' earth, earthy" — his soul wandering at will whithersoever it
listeth, from the lowest pit of hell to the furthest fixed star
beyond the milky way, to the confines of the universe, to the
gates of chaos !
When the Count d'Ailly had achieved his task, and finished
the reading of the manuscript, he was pleased to declare the
author a man of talent, a man of first-rate order, and one who
was destined for immortality.
Every body praised the book except a young hussar, who
had listened attentively all the time, but expressed no opinion
on its merit. From words of civil praise, the company became
enthusiastic in their admiration of the young litterateur ; -and,
excited by the punch of which he had been drinking pretty
freely, and the applause which his reading had obtained, the
count began to draw a critical comparison between the com-
positions of the two brothers — a comparison which in no degree
tended to the credit of the elder.
" Messieurs," said he, " it is clear enough to us all that the
4 Eloge de Victor AmedJbeJ is nothing more than a wild rhapsody
when compared with this * Journey Round my Room.' One
abounds in words, gracefully piled, I grant you, but still little
more than phrases ; here you have thoughts, great thoughts,
powerful thoughts — here the foliage is never cultivated at the
expense of the fruit."
" Pardon me, sir," said the young hussar, " if I venture to
differ ; it seems to me that you overrate the ability of the
writer. Xavier may have talent, but Joseph has something
far beyond talent; he possesses genius of no common order."
The company became interested in the discussion ; opposi-
tion adds to the entertainment of a critical disquisition. A
combat of wit is far more agreeable than perfect unanimity.
" Sir," said the count, curling his long moustache on his
finger, " you are greatly mistaken. I can detect a splendour in
this rising orb which shall banish the pale light shed by the
genius of the other."
The young hussar changed colour.
"The pen of Xavier," he remarked, "may amuse an idle
hour, but that of Joseph is ever employed in imperishable
THE ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE OF ART.
work. Posterity will crown him with favour when the
* Journey Round my Room ' is entirely forgotten."
With this he began to recite some of the most eloquent
passages from the " Eloge de Victor Amedee," with a power and
beauty not easily described.
" You are remarkably critical, sir," said the count, ironically
— the count was evidently piqued ; opposition made him obsti-
nate — " doubtless, Joseph Xavier would be greatly obliged to
you for your good opinion ; no doubt he would fully concur
in the sentiments which you have expressed ; no doubt he is
already — "
" "What ? " cried the young man, advancing three paces, and
with a flush on his hitherto pale cheeks, that made them red
"Peace! peace!" said the others, "the count meant
"I demand," cried the young man, "that he state distinctly
what he did mean. "
" As you will, as you will," returned the count, " I meant
to say, and say it now distinctly, that Joseph's proud heart
will be filled with envy at his brother's success ! "
" It's false ! " cried the other, "it's a base calumny!"
" Your words are -violent, sir," said the count, and he laid his
hand on his sword-hilt ; " doubtless a gentleman so ready with
warlike words will be as ready to support them in the warlike
* ' I understand you, count," returned the young hussar, * ' and
am ready to support everything I utter. Joseph has too
noble a heart to grudge at a brother's fame, if that brother
even deserves it ; and he that says otherwise lies ! "
" Bravely spoken," said the count, as he rapped the lid of
his comfit box ; " now to business. Your name ? "
"Xavier de Maistre !"
The count drew back in mute astonishment — the rest were
filled with admiration.
" You see," said the count, " that the duel is now impossible
— unnecessary — must not be — the matter is cleared up."
" Not so," returned the young man, " I cannot understand
why a brother may not defend a brother's reputation as well
as any one less tenderly connected."
"Of course," said the count, "the word calumny, the im-
putation On my character, is withdrawn, and we have but to
pledge each other in a bumper, and be firm friends for ever."
" Stop, sir count, stop — I will never withdraw the word,
unless you first withdraw that which called forth that
" Impossible ! "
"Then the duel must proceed. I am not ashamed to
assert my brother's honour, and I am not afraid to defend it
with my blood ! "
So they agreed that the duel should take place upon the
following morning. Xavier went homeland wrote a loving
letter to his brother, telling him the whole circumstance of the
case, the provocation he had received, the quarrel that had
ensued, and the duel which was to decide it at dawn next day.
He sent along with the letter his manuscript, begging his
brother to read it, and then commit it to the flames. As for
himself, he expected to be slain — victory he did not look for ;
but how could he fall more nobly, so he wrote, than in defence
of a man whom all France revered, and who was endeared to .
him by the still more loving ties of brotherhood? At early
dawn he received a note from the count: it was couched in
the following terms : —
Monsieur, — You have prudent friends. The governor of
Turin has had me arrested, and I am to be carried beyond the
frontiers of Savoy. You. must feel that this circumstance must
not in honour be allowed to interfere with our meeting. I shall
be ready, sir, to attend you at Cambray.
"Cambray," repeated the young man, mechanically — "and
why not ? should not a man go forty leagues if necessary to
defend a brother's honour ? "
He attached a postscript to his letter, saying that it was
not at Turin but at Cambray that he should meet his antago-
nist, and then, having despatched the letter and manuscript,
prepared to set out for the rendezvous.
But he was arrested — arrested in the full meaning of the term
— disarmed in the name of the governor, and lodged as a
prisoner in a chamber of the citadel.
Not many days after, Joseph de Maistre arrived at Cambray.
There he learnt that no duel had occurred, that the count was
boasting of the pusillanimity of the younger brother, and still
condemning the envy of the elder. Surprised and somewhat
alarmed, Joseph wrote immediately to Turin, and — duels are
contagious — professed his willingness to fight on Xavier's
behalf. As for the book, that was already, not in the flames,
but in the printer's hands — and when the news came that
Xavier was in prison, Joseph hastened to him without a
Early one morning the garrison of the citadel were surprised
by the sudden arrival of the senator of Savoy. The old walls
echoed to the clatter of his horses, and half-a-dozen men were
ready enough to answer all the questions the senator could
ask. But they had no good news to tell. Xavier had escaped.
Under cover of night he had stolen out of the citadel ; they had
sought for him in vain, and it appeared — they could not say
for certain — but it seemed that he had taken the road to
Allons ! Joseph was on the road again. Never it seemed
had horses travelled so fast before : away like the wind, over
broad open country parts, down pleasant lanes, through village
streets, over rustic bridges — fields and houses, towns and
villages, left one after the other far behind — forward to
At the hotel Joseph alighted. The servants were ready to
render him assistance. What would monsieur please to take ?
Had monsieur heard the news, there was to be a duel ? The
Count d'Ailly and a young officer were about to fight. "What
was the young officer like * He was about monsieur's height,
but younger, much younger; he was not unlike monsieur.
The armourer had provided monsieur with a sword ; he had
none with him when he came. They would doubtless soon
return — the wood was not far distant — a bed had been made
ready for the wounded man. But there was a letter for
monsieur and a book. A letter— so Joseph found — from the
printer of his brother's book, and the book no other than " A
Journey Round my Room."
So with this book held fast to his bosom, as if it were a
precious relic, or some rare and valuable gem, the brother
sought his brother. Several people accompanied him, and at
length they came upon the very spot chosen for the encounter.
The duel had not begun. And to make, as they say, a long
story short, the duel never did begin. The matter was cleared
up. The count saw well enough that he had misjudged both
brothers, and the affair ended as such affairs have often ended
before — in a breakfast.
As to the work, Joseph pronounced it a chef-d'oeuvre — he de-
clared his brother to be the Sterne of France — and said so
many other things about the good qualities of the book and
the talent and genius of Xavier, that the count confessed he
had been greatly mistaken in one thing, namely, the envy of
the elder brother, but that he had been right all along about
the merit of the book : had he not said it from the first ?— had
he not predicted the fame of the author ?— arid did it not seem
something like fame, when in so short a space of time as had
intervened since the night of the quarrel, the book had been
printed, and ten thousand copies sold ?
* * * ♦ *
Tony Johannot, with inimitable skill, has depicted a scene
from this " Journey Round my Room." It is that portion in
which Joannetti contemplates the picture, and propounds that
query touching the peculiarity of its expression :—
" * Here Joannetti,' said I, 4 hang up this portrait.'
" He had assisted me to clean it, and yet had no more idea of
all that produced the chapter on the portrait than of what goes
on in the moon. He had of his own accord handed me the
damp sponge, and by that- apparently trifling action had sent
my soul flying over a hundred millions of leagues in one *
THE ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE OF ART.
second of time. Instead of replacing the picture, he retained
it to wipe it in his turn. A certain inquiring look- which over-
spread his features, and indicated that some difficulty — a
doubt he wished to have resolved— occupied his mind, attracted
" ' Come/ said I, * what fault have you to find with the
"'None at all, sir. But yet— ' -
"He placed the picture against one of the shelves of my
escritoire, then retiring a few paces, he replied,
" ' Would you have the kindness, sir, to explain to me why
this portrait always looks Straight at me, whatever part of the
are a prey to vain regrets, your place with her, it may be, is
already filled up ; whilst your eyes are fixed upon her portrait,
and you fondly imagine that you alone (at least in the picture)
monopolise her glances, the perfidious image, faithless as" the
original, gazes on all who approach, and smiles on every oheT
•■" Joannetti still remained in the same attitude, waiting the
explanation he had requested. I raised my head from the
folds o? my travelling-dress, into which I had sunk it 'to
meditate more at my ease whilst resigning myself to the sad
reflections I had been making— * Do you not perceive,
Joannetti/ said I, after a moment's silence, and turning iny
chair towards him — * do you not perceive that a picture, being
SCENE FROM THE " VOYAGE AUTOUR DE MA CHAMBRE. FROM A DESIGN BY TONY J0IIANN0T.
. room I move to ? In the morning when I make the bed the
face is turned towards me, and if I go to the window, it keeps
looking at me all the way.'
"'In fact, Joannetti,' said I, 'if the room were full of
people, this fair lady would look every way and at every one
at the same time r'
"'Oh, yes, sir.'
" ' She would smile upon all who came and went, as well as
" Joannetti made no answer. I stretched myself in my easy
chair, and, letting my head fall on my breast, I resigned my-
self to very serious meditations. What a light breaks in on
' me ! Poor lover ! whilst you, far removed from your mistress,
a plane surface, the rays of light passing off from every point
of that surface . . . ? '
" Joannetti, at this explanation, opened his eyes so wide that
the whole pupil became visible; he half opened his mouth
also ;— these two actions indicate in the human face, according
to the celebrated Le Brun, the highest degree of astonish-
ment. Without a doubt it was my beast that had entered
upon such a dissertation, for my soul knew well enough that
Joannetti knew nothing of plane surfaces, and still less of
rays of light ; the monstrous dilation of his eyelids recalled
me to myself. I suffered my head to sink down again within
the collar of my travelling-dress, and there so ensconced
myself that scarcely any part of it was left visible."